Civil War Museum Closes After Commissioner Forces Removal of Confederate Flags

Operators of the Nash Farm Battlefield Museum in Hampton, Georgia, have decided to close the five-year old Civil War museum after a Henry County commissioner demanded removal of Confederate artifacts.

The museum has been run by a nonprofit organization to commemorate the site of an August 1864 battle in the American Civil War. It’s been housed in a historic building in what has been a Henry County park.

Commissioner Dee Clemmons, an African-American woman, began her demands on the museum with a request to remove a Confederate flag displayed on a flagpole.

The museum was established to provide both sides of the Civil War in equal weights. The nonprofit felt that Clemmons was speaking with the authority of the county government, according to spokesman Tim Knight. But county spokeswoman Melissa Robinson insists the request was personal, not official.

Inside the museum, there are portraits of generals who fought for the north and the south at the 1864 battle.  Outside, there are three flagpoles.  One is empty. Until a few weeks ago, the empty pole displayed a confederate flag with a white field and a St. Andrew’s Cross battle flag in the upper left corner.”

The actual battle at Nash Farm is known as the Battle of Utoy, which took place August 5-7, 1864 between the Army of Ohio and the Army of Tennessee. It ended with a Confederate victory.

It was part of what is known as the Atlanta Campaign, in which the Union Army led by Gen William T. Sherman, drove to take Atlanta and then began his infamous “March to the Sea.”

The Nash Farm park has been the site of several battle reenactments, which brought hundreds of Civil War re-enactors to the area for the festivities.

Knight says Commissioner Clemmons returned a few weeks later and insisted on the removal of other Confederate artifacts inside the museum as well.  Once again, Knight said it appeared the commissioner was speaking on behalf of county government.”

Stuart Carter, a local resident and museum supporter, maintains that Nash Farms has always represented both sides of the conflict.

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Carter points out that many critics of public displays of the Confederate flag make exceptions for museum displays.”

County spokesman Robinson continues to defend the actions of Commissioner Clemmons.

Asked if it was reasonable to remove selected historic artifacts from a museum depicting history, Robinson said:  “I think it’s reasonable. I think there were plenty of artifacts in the museum that can tell the story of the Civil War. And I think it was a reasonable request.”

This week the nonprofit running the museum announced it would remove all its artifacts and close the museum. A number of local residents believe Henry County overreached by squeezing Confederate symbols out of a Civil War museum site.

This latest action to erase traces of the Confederacy mirrors what we’ve witnessed worldwide by authoritarian regimes. In the past, the Soviet Union totally rewrote Russian history and was noted for airbrushing photographs to remove historical figures.

More recently, the Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Syria and Iraq have destroyed historic Buddhist, Christian and Jewish sites.

We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can look back and take pride in the progress continuing to be made to create a better society.

Resorting to petty intolerance that besmirches people’s ancestors certainly will not advance that cause. What some fail to take into consideration is that many poor rural Southerners joined the Confederate Army to defend their homeland against an invading power. They’d didn’t own slaves. They worked their farms themselves.

Source: WFMY News

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